Antidepressants and antipsychotics are very different drugs. However, many people find that they need both in order to function. Still, others don’t know the difference between the two.
In this article we explain the differences between antidepressants and antipsychotics. We also provide advice on how to use them safely. Remember, this article does not constitute medical advice. Before making any changes or taking new medicines, speak with your doctor.
Antidepressants and Antipsychotics – What’s the Difference?
Antidepressants and antipsychotics are very different. In fact, the two classes of drug have more differences than similarities. Nonetheless, many people confuse the two.
Antidepressants are drugs designed to help balance your mood. Most antidepressants work by balancing out the chemicals in your brain. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are what cause your mood to change. They regulate emotions, energy, motivation, libido, and many other functions.
Depression occurs when these chemicals fall out of balance. Antidepressants work by bringing balance back to these neurotransmitters.
Antipsychotics are drugs designed to get rid of psychosis. They are most often used to help people suffering from schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a serious, reoccurring psychotic disorder. There are many symptoms which can include hallucinations, delusions, distorted thoughts, emotional problems, and social problems.
These are symptoms of psychosis. These symptoms are often caused by excessive amounts of dopamine. Dopamine is the brain chemical responsible for mood and motivation. Too much dopamine, however, sometimes causes psychosis.
Antipsychotics prevent the brain from producing too much dopamine. While this might reduce psychosis, there are often side effects.
Using Antidepressants and Antipsychotics Safely
There are many types of antidepressants. There are also many types of antipsychotics. If you want to know how to safely mix these drugs, speak with your doctor. There are simply too many medications to provide a complete list of potential interactions.
One thing to be aware of, however, is the interaction between antipsychotics and TCAs. TCAs, or tricyclic antidepressants, often create problems when used alongside antipsychotics. The most likely problem is a disturbed heart rhythm.
If you don’t know whether you need antidepressants or antipsychotics, speak with a professional. Mental health workers, such as therapists and psychiatrists, diagnose mental health problems. These professionals will help you understand what you’re struggling with and how to treat it.
It’s important to remember that unsupervised use of prescription drugs is dangerous. If you’re considering off-label use of medication, take time to reconsider. The possibility of an unwanted or dangerous side effect is very real.
Antipsychotics and antidepressants are both powerful drugs. Doctors prescribe them to help people manage mental health conditions. While both drugs are useful, there is the possibility of negative interactions and side effects.
These drugs often work best when combined with another form of treatment, such as therapy. Drugs mask the worst of the symptoms while therapy addresses the root issue and helps heal the issue.
Once you work through the issue, it will hopefully be gone forever. Then you can look forward to life without antidepressants, medications, and side effects. Groups like Surviving Antidepressants help to guide people through the struggles of antidepressants.